IF:Gathering: Finding My Messy Community

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In the fall of 2013, I was invited by one my closest friends Lindsey Nobles, to attend a retreat with 60 other women in Austin, Texas to hear about the vision of a new ministry called IF:GATHERING. I had no idea what to expect or who would be there and to be honest, I really didn’t want to go. I was in the midst of some major changes for me…

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A Letter To My Husband…

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A few months ago I was searching for a specific document and during my search found this letter. I wrote this love letter to Justin in 1994 a year before we got married. We had both moved to Vermont Illinois (a small farming town) for a part-time youth ministry position, while also attending Western Illinois University. Although the families we stayed with were amazing and our small country church was…

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I’ll Go With You

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In June of 2009, Trish and I were preparing to move from Indianapolis to Nashville to work at a church again after almost four years out of ministry. It was a big step of faith for us. RefineUs was just a blog and only a few months old. We had no aspirations of writing a book, traveling or speaking. One of my best friends, Pete, offered me a second chance…

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You Have to Choose It

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This weekend was a pretty cool weekend. Trish and I got to be a part of Lifeway’s Festival of Marriage weekend. Over 600 couples gathered in North Carolina and Dr. Gary Chapman opened the weekend with a powerful talk on The Five Love Languages. Trish and I have written a book on marriage, but this man is THE expert on marriage. His book, The Five Love Languages has sold more…

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Being Comfortable With Editing

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Trisha and I are in the editing process of our book, Beyond Ordinary: When a Good Marriage Just Isn’t Good Enough. We are so excited about it, and should have all the edits done by the end of this month. The cover is being finalized, and the final manuscript will be completed in August. It is set to be released in January, 2013. Just typing that is like an out…

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Love Does

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Recently our family went on vacation. One of the things I love about vacation is being together for more than just an evening meal. Justin and I have hit that season of life where two of our boys are teenagers and their time with us at home will come to an end sooner than I think all of us are ready for. We cherish every day we get with them….

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THE Biggest Obstacle to Healthy Relationships

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Throughout my life, no relationship has been spared from dysfunction. I’ve had dysfunctional friendships. I’ve had unhealthy relationships with family members. My marriage has been dysfunctional in multiple seasons in the seventeen years I’ve been married. My relationship with my kids has not always been what I want or wish it to be. When a relationship is sideways or has tension or just isn’t what it should be, I can…

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Spiritual Mentors

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I was given an unbelievable gift yesterday. I was able to meet someone I’ve looked up to, admired and emulated for many years. John Ortberg has been an influential voice in my life and my journey with God for the past 15 years. I have read every book he has written. I have preached the majority of his sermons. I have used his style of speaking and writing to develop…

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Life and Death

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Our words carry power. They have the power to usher in life or the power to bring about death. There are days that I live in this and get this right. I breathe life into my kids. I build up my wife. I am life-giving to my friends. Then there are times that I take this truth for granted. I run down my kids. I forget how fragile their hearts…

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Adding Value

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I add value with words. Well, that is a HUGE assumption. More accurately, I attempt to add value through words. I feel most comfortable in ministry; in my marriage; in my relationship with my kids; in my friendships, adding value through words that I speak. I’ve always been good with words. So many times in our marriage, as Trisha explains an issue or a frustration or a disappointment, I can…

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